Updated 5:57 p.m.
When the 6-foot-8, 200-pound forward made the announcement and donned a Duke cap shortly after 4 p.m. Tuesday afternoon, the bleachers, full of fellow students, erupted with cheers.
Jefferson's decision is almost as last-minute as it gets. The heavily recruited basketball star's decision comes a day sooner than the NCAA's late signing period deadline, but Jefferson's decision—or lack thereof—has been making headlines for months.
The decision—between North Carolina State, Duke, Kentucky, Ohio State and Villanova—took as long as it did because Jefferson was conflicted: one day it was one school, the next day it was another, he told press.
“That’s why I took so long," he explained.
Many sports fans considered the decision to be primarily between North Carolina State and Duke, and they were right—Jefferson said the decision came down to those two schools.
"... I made the decision about two days ago, when I said to myself, ‘This is where I want to be, and this is the school that I wanted to go to. ... When I finally sat down with my family … Duke just seemed like the right school and the best fit for me and my character.”
The power forward did consider Villanova, he said, but, "in the end, I thought going out of state would be best for me—just to see some challenges and obstacles that … help build character. You can’t just come home, you have to stick through it. I think playing out of state will challenge me."
Jefferson is a McDonald's All-American player, two-time Pennsylvania AA Player of the Year selection and a three-time Pennsylvania First Team All-State selection, who has led his Friends' Central School team to four consecutive Pennsylvania Independent School State championships and two Friends Schools League championships.
"It’s going to be a challenge athletically and academically, but that’s what I want—I want to be somewhere where I’m going to be challenged, where I can become the person that I want to be," Jefferson said.
- Amile Jefferson Headed To Kentucky For All-Star Tournament (April 3, 2012)
- Friends' Central's Jefferson Expected To Declare Soon (Jan. 31, 2012)
- 'Net Worth: The Amile Watch (Sept. 6, 2011)
- Friends' Central's Amile Jefferson Is Among The Nation's Best (July 1, 2011)